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Broken Age (PC) artwork

Broken Age (PC) review

"Broken Down"

As many others have said of Broken Age, Act 1 is great. Although some the puzzles were really very simple, I didn't mind that, it meant the game had a good flow. The art style/look and feel of the game is great. You're introduced to some interesting characters and a lot of intriguing plot lines are started. You're compelled to keep playing, and that's always a sign of a great game.

Unfortunately you then move into the second half of the game, and it was so bad that in several places I almost stopped playing (almost - I haven't abandoned a single point and click adventure yet...). Some of the puzzles were nothing short of absurd, and filled with repetitive game-padding to boot - unless you really enjoy pretend wiring robots. Strangely, that's not on my all-time top ten list of fun stuff to do. Actually, it's not even in the top 1,000. Still, if you're getting really stuck and frustrated and want to progress, you can just consult a walkthrough, right? Wrong, because this game actively hates you so much it had randomised some of the solutions, so you either solve it yourself or you don't finish it. Why the game would want to stop you progressing when you're already at the brink of 'I give up' by removing a walkthrough option, I don't know. And whatever happened to games giving you gentle hints?

I am a huge fan of point and click games, having played dozens of them over the last twenty years or so. I'm usually pretty forgiving when it comes to dumb, illogical puzzles - it kind of comes with the territory with these sorts of games. I don't mind the occasional glance at a walkthrough or in-game hint to get me back on track.

Almost as bad are the controls - sometimes for a puzzle you need to click and drag, sometimes you just click and click again, with seemingly no rhyme or reason behind the change, which adds to the frustration for no reason at all. There's just no excuse for having inconsistent/clunky controls like this.

Don't worry *too* much about the gameplay though, because the story is far worse. Did they stop writing this halfway through and chucked an intern at it to finish the rest? I'm only exaggerating a little when I say the 'pay off' in the second half equates to 'because reasons.' Most of the 'plot', such as it is, is relegated to a few lines of dialogue while you play as Vella, whilst Shay is busy on fetch quests for nearly the entire second act. Without wanting to give away any spoilers, don't expect this game to have an ending, because it doesn't. It just stops without any of the storytelling 'this is what happened' finesse that viewers and players would generally expect. As an example, something major about a character is revealed towards the end and it passes by without comment from any of the other characters - at all. I prefer plumbers-rescuing-princesses type stories to this.

The other main issue with the second half is that there are no new areas. (A couple of new screens I think but nothing else, other than slightly altered versions of first-half environments) It's just the same places that you already explored in the first half of the game. That's it. Walking endlessly back and forth through the same scenes, because, as I've mentioned, this game dislikes you and does not want to give you a quick-travel/map option. It wants to see you walk back through 10 screens again and again. Because reasons.

I really didn't want to hate on this game as it started so well and it's the kind of game I love so much, but come on. Although the audio was great, it's not as critical as gameplay and story - please spend less money on Jack Black and Hobbits and orchestras, and more money and effort on writing and providing places to explore.

If you want a more modern point and click game, play the recent Sam and Max games, or Book of Unwritten Tales, or even some of Pendulo's stuff. Because this game is likely to disappoint you, even if you didn't back it on kickstarter or wait years for it to come out.


melbee42's avatar
Community review by melbee42 (July 19, 2016)

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